If you ever needed convincing that there is always a rational explanation for any supposedly "supernatural" phenomena, particularly in superstitious Indonesia, then perhaps this story will be the nail in the coffin for hantu myths and theories.
On Friday, police in Probolinggo, East Java, carried out a vice raid at a karaoke joint in the city. The photo above, taken during the raid, immediately went viral in Indonesia as many thought that one of the female karaoke attendants sitting in the background was a ghost – one that apparently wanted to show off her grotesque face for the camera.
The photo got so much national media attention (in the absence of real news during the holiday, perhaps) that Detik sought the expert opinion of a so-called "paranormal" from Probolinggo for an explanation.
Being a person whose job is to mainly come up with convenient explanations for strange occurrences, the paranormal said that the woman herself isn't a ghost, but that a supernatural being had obscured her face on purpose.
"So when the photo was taken, (the being) covered up the face of the woman," Ahmad Hasyim, the "paranormal," was quoted as telling Detik on Saturday.
Hasyim then added that the being is a jinn (Islamic genie) who took the form of a kuntilanak (a female vampiric ghost in Indonesian mythology, somewhat resembling the ghost from The Ring in appearance).
Hasyim's ghost-busting street cred unfortunately took a massive hit as the police confirmed that there was no jinn or ghost of any shape or form in the photo, just a woman wearing a black floral pattern veil.
"When the photo was taken, the veil was used to cover up the (karaoke attendant's) face. As for the glowing eyes, that was caused by the camera phone's flash," Probolinggo Police Chief Alfian Nurrizal said yesterday in a statement on the police department's official website.
"We hope the public will stop speculating and spreading this hoax about a 'ghost sighting' photo that could disturb the public."